Seven babies die in space of 24 hours at eastern Indian hospital
Jan 18, 2012, 12:42 GMT
New Delhi - Seven infants, aged between three hours and three months, died in the course of 24 hours in a hospital in the Malda district of India's eastern state of West Bengal, media reported Wednesday.
'We have information that seven babies have died in Malda Medical College and Hospital. Only one baby was born in the hospital and the six others were referred cases,' IANS news agency quoted Chandrima Bhattacharya, West Bengal's junior minister for health, as saying.
'The babies were mostly premature-born and underweight and some of them carried acute infections,' the hospital's superintendent Subrata Som said.
India has one of the world's largest number of malnourished children, with 44 per cent of all children aged below 5 underweight.
It also has a high infant mortality rate of 50 deaths per 1000 live births, according to World Bank data.
More than 1.6 million children are estimated to die annually before they reach their fifth birthday.
A spate of infant deaths have been reported from West Bengal's state-run hospitals in the past year.
Sixteen babies died at the BC Roy Hospital in the West Bengali capital Kolkata between October 25 and 28, 2011. In June, 18 babies died at the same hospital, which is a state-run referral hospital for children.
Another state-run hospital in Burdwan district reported 12 infant deaths on October 27-28, 2011.